by Tom Wailgum

U.S. Open Website Boasts New Wireless Technology

Nov 15, 20012 mins

I had the good fortune of returning to the U.S. Open, following up on my 1999 visit to see the IBM E-Business Solutions group’s work in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. (see “More Than Fun and Games” at

That article profiled the group (techies who don’t sleep much), the technology (expensive and powerful toys for said techies) and the event (big-time sporting gigs). Two years later, the techies looked as tired as ever; the previous night’s thrilling match between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras that ended in the early morning had taken its toll. The technology?including four xSeries e-Servers that ran the show, plus much more?was impressive as it was before. And the event, of course, was just as exciting?a phenomenal match between Andy Roddick and eventual champ Lleyton Hewitt capped the night I was there.

But not all was the same as it had been. The Open website ( boasted new wireless features?match updates and live traffic reports delivered to Internet-enabled cell phones, pagers and PDAs. And before the matches began, journalists attended a briefing with Paul Horn, senior vice president and director of IBM research. He spoke of IBM’s embracing open standards at this year’s Open, in particular testing Linux-based servers as the OS infrastructure to handle all the website traffic (172 million page views and 2 million unique visitors during the two-week event). He also detailed his group’s new research areas, such as autonomic computing systems?self-managing system similar to human bodies with brainlike response times. This unfathomable speed would make everyday PCs that much faster?and more reliable. He also demonstrated a souped-up Palm device with speech-recognition capability; we watched as it translated his questions from English to Japanese and German. He cautioned, though, that widespread adaptation of such toys would take a while. I guess we’ll just have to come back again next year….